My Dear Friends in Christ,
Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey I sent out this past weekend! The answers and comments helped me get a good lay of the land before our Church Council meeting. The majority of those who responded are comfortable worshiping in the Sanctuary and would like to attend an Easter Sunday service. Others have reservations and would prefer not to be in the Sanctuary due to the high infection rate on Long Island or for other reasons. After looking at the data and discussing worship plans, we decided to keep us moving forward in a safe, healthy, and faithful direction.
Beginning this Sunday, March 14, we will return to weekly in-person worship services at 10:15 AM in the Sanctuary. At the same time, we will offer a drive-in service option for anyone who is not comfortable entering the building. The drive-in service option will be made available by transmitting the indoor service's audio feed on 88.1 FM. Both the indoor and the drive-in option will offer the Lord's Supper with the use of the pre-packaged Communion chalices. Current safety guidelines still apply. If you plan on attending any of our Sunday services, please reserve your spot by calling the office (516.742.5858) from 9:00 AM – NOON on the Thursday before the service you wish to attend. Please specify if you are attending the indoor service or the drive-in option. If you are attending the drive-in option, please park your car in the exit row (the row closest to Willis Avenue) and face the building. When the service concludes, you will leave the parking lot before the indoor attendees leave the building.
This Sunday, March 14, will be the last Sunday that a pre-recorded online service will be on YouTube. Beginning next Sunday, March 21, we will only offer a live feed of the indoor worship service as our weekly online option. I will let you know the specifics of that live feed as we get closer to Sunday, March 21. I am still playing around with some different options. I will, however, use Facebook Live to live stream our service for this weekend. Lenten Midweek services will remain online only on our YouTube channel at 7:00 PM on Wednesdays.
We also made a few changes to our Sunday worship services. Beginning this Sunday, March 14, we will be adding a hymn. We may add more later. We will also be asking lay readers to start reading again. Spacing between seats will remain the same, but we will be adding additional seating by the side altar and in the balcony. If needed, we can set up a few chairs in the narthex. We will continue to monitor distance recommendations. Due to the increased desire for worshiping indoors, I need to stress the importance of calling in to reserve a seat. We want to make sure that we can accommodate everyone. Please note that current safety guidelines still apply (masks, social distancing, etc.).
Our Holy Week Schedule is as follows:
Palm Sunday (3/28) 10:15 AM (inside, drive-in, & live feed)
Holy Thursday (4/1) 7:00 PM (inside, drive-in, & live feed)
Good Friday (4/2) 7:00 PM (inside, drive-in, & live feed)
Easter Sunday (4/4) 9:00 AM (outside); 10:15 AM (inside, drive-in, & live feed)
Palm Sunday will function like the Sunday worship services described above. We will be offering palms this year during the indoor service and drive-in option. If you do not plan on attending our Palm Sunday worship service but would still like a palm branch, we could arrange for a pick-up. Holy Thursday and Good Friday will have the same options as the Sunday worship services described above. The Lord's Supper will be celebrated on Holy Thursday, but not on Good Friday. We will have two opportunities to worship on Easter Sunday. Our 9:00 AM Easter service will take place outside on the back lawn, and our 10:15 AM Easter service will function like the Sunday worship services described above. If you plan on attending any of these Holy Week services, please reserve your spot by calling the office (516.742.5858) from 9:00 AM – NOON any Thursday before that week. Please specify which service(s) you plan to attend and whether you will be attending the indoor service or the drive-in option. I hope that our Easter services will safely and faithfully accommodate all levels of comfortability.
Thank you all for your continued love and support. It is an honor to serve this family of faith. May God bless the rest of our Lenten meditations and our Holy Week observations. I will send out more information in the coming weeks. As always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
Only Because of Jesus,
Pastor Jake Allstaedt
Office: 516.742.5858 | Cell: 253.720.6893 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org